When we feel let down by activities we do (studies, work, family), we tend to focus on criticizing people and avoid doing some constructive analysis that can help us change what we can actually change — for instance, because it depends on our own participation or action (at least!). This attitude is also connected to a rather common habit: victimization.
This is why when you ask students to write an article and they pick an analysis article about the education system, they often start writing about what the teachers they don’t like do. What would you tell these students to help them improve their approach to analysis?
In everyday language, the word is “complain.” Adults spend a great percentage of their lives complaining, but complaining is different from criticizing (I’m using this term in its original rational sense) in that it doesn’t involve problem-solving, and critical thinking always does. Complaining generates more frustration, and intensifies/enhances bad feelings, and offers nothing positive in exchange — perhaps that explains why people always insist the positive side is they “got it off their chests” and this makes them feel better. It doesn’t, actually, because nothing changes.
So how can adults improve their critical thinking?, which is to say, how can they improve their problem-solving skills?